Large tracts of agricultural fields in Mohammadpur under Gadmunda gram panchayat have turned barren with frequent transportation of fly ash on the road stretch that passes through these fields.
Hindalco Industries Limited (HIL) trucks carry the fly ash to the dumping yard at Budhakanta-Larbhanga under the same panchayat on this road.
Dilip Pandey (36), a farmer of Mohammadpur who owns 1.76 acres of land, said repeated plying of fly ash-laden trucks gradually covered his land with fly ash. He was one of the beneficiaries in the village who was being supported to adopt Systematic Rice Intensification (SRI) method for paddy cultivation.
Dilip’s is not a solitary case. All farmers from villages of Gundrupada, Mohammadpur, Dengimocha, Budhakanta and Larbhanga, whose crop lands are located along the 7-km road stretch from HIL to Budhakanta-Larbhanga are facing the same problem.
Ward member of Mohammadpur, Ashok Bhoi, said the damage could have been mitigated had HIL covered the fly ash-laden trucks. Not just crop lands, locals are developing respiratory problems as fly ash fills the air and water bodies have become unfit for human use.
Another farmer of Mohammadpur, Gajendra Mahakud, alleged that the dumping yard of HIL in the tribal-inhabited Larbhanga has been developed by encroaching upon 99 acres of gochar (grazing) land.
Senior Manager (HR and PR), Aswini Padhi feigned ignorance about fly ash polluting the air.